topped the first free practice session in Rome for ahead of Techeetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne and the Audi of Lucas di  Grassi.



The grid would make their second trip to Rome with valuable data to tackle the demanding twenty-one turn circuit.


The first sector of the circuit features a dramatic downhill elevation change that will put a major focus on brake bias. The early start or 7:30am also saw quite a bit of residual dampness throughout the circuit.


Audi eTron powered cars dominated the early part of the session, with both the works Audi of Lucas di Grassi and both Virgin entries filling the top three spots until Sebastien Buemi’s Nissan e-Dams poked its head briefly at the top of the timesheets.

Nissan’s improved performance comes at a time when many teams on the grid were casting inquisitive glances at the Nissan powertrain.


Buemi was quickly usurped by the Penske Dragon entry of Jose Maria Lopez and in turn the Techeetah of last year’s champion, Jean-Eric Vergne.


Jaguar’s Mitch Evans put in a strong showing to jump to second in the early stages of the session, no doubt now enjoying his solidified position as the de-facto team lead in the wake of Nelson Piquet’s departure.


Evans survived a massive tank-slapper and a minor skirmish with the wall to eventually finish inside the top four.


 Image: Nissan e.Dams